Is Student Debt Reducing Your Disability Benefits?

Have you heard that millennials have more debt than any other generation? Experts are blaming this on rising educational costs, but did you know those student debts are hurting your social security check too?

Why Student Debt is Reducing Your Disability Benefits

When a person defaults on their federal student loans, the government takes action. This usually involves garnishing your wages, but for some people this garnishment is applied to their Social Security check. A portion of a debtor’s check is taken out and applied to their student debt, but a new report is shedding some harsh light on these garnishments.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Claire McCaskill requested that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) review Social Security garnishment procedures. They wanted to know details about how benefits for seniors and people with disabilities were being slashed, and they weren’t happy with the findings.

How Social Security Benefits Are Being Garnished

Around 67,300 federal student loan borrowers are receiving garnishments that put their Social Security check below the poverty line. The minimum that the government must pay beneficiaries is $750, but the national poverty line is $990. That difference has left many people with disabilities struggling to make ends meet, and that’s not all.

There are 114,000 people having their benefits garnished due to federal student loans, and over half of those people are on Social Security Disability insurance (SSDI). Worse yet, 70 percent of those garnishments are being applied solely to interest payments and fees. This is allowing these debts to grow rather than paying them off. The researchers at GAO also found that many of the people with garnished benefits qualify to have their student loans discharged because of permanent disability.

Do you think this is fair? What can the government do to relieve this new student loan burden from the shoulders of seniors and people with disabilities? Keep following our disability blog to find more info. You can also share your thoughts with our Tulsa disability attorneys on Facebook and Twitter.


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